Mahfam Malek Named Program Director

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We’re proud to announce that after an extensive search, we have found our Program Director, Mahfam Malek!

Mahfam (they/them) has held various roles in justice movements over the years, including facilitator, somatic coach, non-profit staff of many stripes, social justice-oriented stand-up comic, direct-action and cultural organizer, environmental educator, and more. They work to maintain a regular writing practice, find ways to stay connected to abolition movements, enjoy the outdoors, and spend quality time with their dog and with their parents. 

Mahfam’s work is shaped largely by their training and years of somatic development and leadership development with progressive training institutions such as generative somatics, Rockwood Leadership Institute, and Training for Change. Additionally, they call on their history in dance/performance, meditation, and working in US-based justice movements; and on their experience as an immigrant, queer, non-binary, mixed-class woman of color. They believe all movements are connected, as all life is connected.

Praise from the selection committee:

Helga Garza, Castanea Fellow: “I am excited to welcome Mahfam as the Castanea Program Director. This position is crucial to the growth & direction moving forward for Castanea. Mahfam brings years of experience and commitment in facilitation, community organizing, and leadership development. For all those reasons and many more I welcome and am excited to learn, share time and space with them on this leadership development journey.”

Brett Ramey, Castanea Steering Committee: “Mahfam's movement building background and facilitation style - especially their experience as a generative somatics practitioner- can bring additional grounding to Castanea staff and fellows to support their necessary work.  We're grateful and honored to welcome them to the Castanea team.”

Krysten Aguilar, Castanea Executive Director: ”As Castanea re-grounds after a pause in programming with a plan to re-launch and select a new cohort later this year, the new position of Program Director will give the fellowship a new breadth and depth in programming. Mahfam brings a myriad of skills in program development and facilitation that will create a generative and fulfilling space for all fellows.

Welcome to the Castanea family, Mahfam!

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